Adrian Hanack saxophone
Lisa Wulff bass
Silvan Strauß drums
An interview with Lisa Wulff
What is it like, appearing here all on your own?
Lisa Wulff: First of all it feels like a soundcheck: in that case, too, the room is always empty while you're setting up the equipment and checking the acoustics. But normally, you get off the stage, and when you come back, the other people are there. This time, the soundcheck atmosphere stays with you throughout the session, and that's a strange experience. But the little team we're recording with is really nice, and it's actually easier than I thought it would be to get into a concert mood.
But there's one moment that is still quite different: the end of the first piece, when there is suddenly no applause. How do you manage to go on with the same level of energy?
That's an odd feeling, it's true. It takes some getting use to that you can't interact with the audience, especially with the kind of improvised music that we play. Improvisation depends a lot on the moment, on the mood in the concert hall. This time, we have to find everything inside ourselves. But we know each other very well and trust each other. That makes it easier to maintain the energy and to say: we're going to go ahead and give a great concert together.
What pieces have you brought with you tonight?
We're playing compositions of our own that I wrote for the band. They are nearly all taken from our new album »Beneath the Surface« which we recorded last year in Berlin: it has just been released.
How did you go about composing the tracks?
Each piece is composed differently. The groove is generally produced on the double bass, while we create lyrical tracks or ballads on the piano. I often begin a piece and then put it to one side, and a lot of our music gets finished at very short notice, sometimes only the evening before the recording session. The great thing about jazz is that you don't need to fully compose everything. I know that I can give my fellow band members some scope, which they always make better use of than I would have imagined beforehand.
1. Walking Distance
2. Nightmares and Daydreams
3. Beneath the surface
4. When I took a walk
5. From a donkey’s point of view
6. Wondrous Strange
The three of you represent Hamburg's dynamic young jazz scene. What do you particularly appreciate about the other members of the band?
We originally met at college here in Hamburg, and we got on like a house on fire from the word go. The other two are both super musicians with a wide range of personal interests and skills. None of us like pigeonholes, and we realise totally different projects. We've been playing together since 2013 and we can work really constructively with lots of mutual respect. But we also tell each other frankly if something is not working well. It's a whole lot of fun playing and touring together, and I hope we'll continue to play as a band for a long time to come.
You're enjoying great success at the moment: there's the new album, then you were awarded the Hamburg Jazz Prize a few months ago. Now the Corona crisis has suddenly brought everything to a standstill. That's pretty bad timing for you: how are you dealing with it?
I was totally disappointed that we had to cancel our entire release tour for the new album. This Elphi-at-Home concert is basically our first and only release gig. So it's all the better that we can do it. But it's pretty frustrating: you invest years of work in an album and a tour. It's tough, from a financial point of view too, not knowing what's going to happen now. I'm trying not to let my frustration get the better of me. I'm writing and practising a lot in an attempt to derive something positive from the situation. Luckily we musicians are all in close contact with one another, we phone a lot and really give each other a lot of support. A lot of new things are happening as well.
»When the world returns to normal, the first thing I'll do is…«
… visit my parents.
Lisa-Rebecca Wulff was born in Hamburg in 1990, and studied double bass and electric bass in Bremen and Hamburg. In addition to her own bands and projects, she can also be heard regularly in the NDR Big Band, and she tours with artists like Nils Landgren, Christof Lauer, Rolf Kühn, Caecilie Norby and Wolfgang Haffner. In 2019 she won the Hamburg Jazz Prize which is awarded by Jazzbüro Hamburg. The prize is awarded to artists who have made an especially qualified contribution to the Hamburg jazz scene.
Since 2013, Lisa Wulff has been playing with the drummer Silvan Strauß, who has a well-established reputation as a sideman (e.g. with Monica Roscher, Maria Joao) and bandleader (urban academy, Pecco Billo) and with sax player Adrian Hanack (e.g. Meute, we don’t suck we blow), who is always good for a surprise ranging from avant-garde solos to imaginative and airy ballad interpretations. As the Lisa Wulff Quartet they are releasing the album »Beneath The Surface« in April 2020.
Interview: François Kremer (16.04.2020)